How healthcare businesses can use technology to manage through COVID-19

Telemedicine, online scheduling, secure patient portals

The coronavirus has hit just about every business and industry in the United States, but none more than the healthcare sector. ICUs across the country are overrun with patients, surgeons are postponing elective procedures, and private practices are working to find alternative ways to meet with and treat patients.

Healthcare entrepreneurs and workers are doing their part to flatten the curve — as are the patients choosing to stay home, wash their hands, and practice social distancing.

We’re all in this together, and we’re all looking for the best ways to mitigate the long-term effects of COVID-19.

 

Thankfully, technology has given the healthcare field a way forward. If you’re a doctor, dentist, OB-GYN, or any other medical entrepreneur running a healthcare facility that’s still meeting with patients during the coronavirus, consider the benefits of using the following technology solutions to keep your staff and patients safer.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered advice or endorsement from GoDaddy on any subject matter.

Use telemedicine whenever possible

Telemedicine is a healthcare trend that has been around for many years — with organizations like Mayo Clinic and the Veterans Health Administration (VA) publishing results indicating its ability to expand access and improve patient care.

Telehealth is now gaining momentum because of the coronavirus.

 

Patients and healthcare professionals are using electronic solutions to collect patient details and distribute healthcare services, treatment and information. Telemedicine is a great demonstration of how healthcare offices can use technology to keep staff and patients safe during the pandemic.

Moreover, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has lowered its requirements for healthcare providers that want to use audio or video communication technology during the COVID-19 crisis to work with patients.

It goes on to say that it will not impose penalties for noncompliance with HIPAA rules as long as the healthcare provider applies good faith and discretion when diagnosing, treating, or communicating with patients.

Healthcare offices around the country are moving their check-ups, patient screenings, and other routine visits online. Thus, limiting the physical office visits to critical care and unique circumstances.

If your medical facility is meeting with patients during the pandemic, consider adding a telemedicine component because it:

  • Lessens the number of people your staff meets with every day
  • Limits the time your patients spend in the office
  • Provides additional safety measure for your workers and patients
  • Offers more flexibility and convenience to your patients

Whether you’re conducting one-on-one video calls with patients, collecting intake forms online, or streaming general guidelines on your website, telemedicine can be a saving grace during the pandemic.

Add online appointment scheduling

You may also want to consider upgrading your appointment scheduling process during the coronavirus to make schedule setting and appointment changing easier and more efficient.

Flexibility is crucial right now as stay-at-home orders and other changing landscapes can make planning beyond today difficult.

As a result, this is the perfect opportunity to integrate patient scheduling software into your healthcare business — if you don’t have it already.

Patient scheduling software uses a web-based platform or phone to quickly and easily let patients create or change appointments. The software also allows your staff to prioritize visits, confirm times, add patients to waiting lists, and send reminders automatically.

Appointment scheduling software will give you and your patients more control and transparency.

 

If you need to limit the number of patients you meet with every day to ensure your office is properly sanitized between visits, you can modify your meeting windows. If you or your patients need to cancel or postpone a visit, it’s done in minutes using the software.

Best of all, appointment scheduling software can automatically remind patients to schedule future visits — increasing the life-time value of a patient.

Related: Set up online appointments and use video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings

Secure portals for sharing patient information

The technology mentioned so far has been focused on keeping staff and patients safer by minimizing the time spent in the office. But, how can you use technology to improve safety when meeting with patients?

To start, you might use practice management (PM) or electronic health record (EHR) software to seamlessly integrate patient information and process development across your organization. These internal tools can make it fast and easy for your staff to find important procedural or patient information.

For example, one nurse from Tampa General Hospital said that “her team uses EHR software to pull up patient information quickly and securely.”

Since the coronavirus, their EHR has added alert notifications on patients’ files if they have tested positive or are awaiting test results for COVID-19. While healthcare workers are on high alert right now, having this added measure gives employees an additional reminder which will help to keep everyone involved safer.

Fast, reliable and secure communication is an important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19. As a healthcare entrepreneur, find a secure and quick solution for sharing information across your organization.

Related: How to embrace digital technology in healthcare — and remain HIPAA compliant

Healthcare technology offers more flexibility

Now is the perfect time for your healthcare office to assess how it uses technology — not just for the physical treatment, but more strategically speaking such as with telemedicine, appointment setting, and organizational communication.

We’re at a precipice as a nation with the healthcare industry and it’s time for medical entrepreneurs to recognize the changing landscape and demand from patients who want more control and flexibility of their treatment. Integrating healthcare technology like the three options mentioned above can make your business more agile while also delivering a better healthcare experience to your patients during and beyond the pandemic.

Image by: National Cancer Institute on Unsplash